OBHS to return to premier grade

The Otago Boys’ High School first XV is back in the premier schools grade next year and first XV games could head to Queenstown.

The Otago Secondary Schools Rugby Council has been mulling over what to do with the first XV grade after Otago Boys’ indicated it was keen to come back into the grade.

Otago Boys’ first XV had played in the Highlanders premier schools competition and won it the last four years until it folded after the 2014 season.

Otago Boys’ decided to play in the premier colts competition but now wants to enter the Otago premier schools competition.

That will bring the competition to 11 teams and the council is looking for a 12th team.

But it will not be Southland Boys’ High School.

Council chairman Greg Heller said as it was an Otago-based competition and so the extra team would have to come from Otago.

The council was talking to Wakatipu High School and hoped to get the Queenstown school back into the competition. It had been playing in the Southland schools competition over the past few years.

The Otago Boys’ High School second XV would remain in the premier competition.

The competition was won this year by King’s High School, which beat John McGlashan College in the final.

Next year’s competition will be split into two pools of six. Following pool play, the top two teams from each pool and the next two teams on flag points will go into a premiership division while the remaining six teams will go into a championship division.

Flag points will be wiped and the two divisions will play a round-robin before finals.The competition is set to start on May 5 and finish on August 11.

Heller said it was only a proposal at this stage. It would be played under New Zealand Schools Rugby rules so all players must be aged under 18 at January 1.

Otago Boys’ High School rugby administrator Brian Ashwin said the school faced the issue every year of being in the colts grade or the schools grade.

It had enjoyed being in the colts grade but also liked playing against school teams every week.

"The colts grade is a very good grade but is it a good grade for a 15 or 16-year-old? That is one thing we have to consider," he said.

"It can be difficult if you are playing a University Blue on a Saturday and then Christchurch Boys’ High School on the Wednesday."

Ashton said there were positives and negatives about going into either competition and Otago Boys’ had decided to go with the schools grade.

The school had recorded some blow-out scores when in the Highlanders competition and he said they would be a powerful side in the competition.

The council would have the same divisions down the grades but there was to be a change in the under-14 grade.

The council had agreed in principle that there would be one single under-14 competition with a view to having even teams from schools entering more than one team.

King’s High School had dominated this grade over the past two years, clocking up massive scores, but there was a concern this was putting a large number of players off the sport.

Comments

I wouldn’t say Kings dominated the competition. Two years ago John McGlashan won the comp and then beat OBHS.
When you have a semi-professional team playing amateurs it’s hardly going to be a fair competition is it. That is exactly what OBHS rugby is. If they are worried about 15/16 year olds then perhaps keep them in the 2nds. For a year or two.

Hopefully there are nt too many cricket scores.

If a 12th team is needed how about a combined team from Kaikorai Valley, Bayfield and Toko High. Its only a 40 minute trip from to Dunedin to Milton so this could be a viable option. The 3 schools combined should be able to put out a team that was at least competitive with the bottom 6 sides.